Change and growth take place when a person has risked
himself and dares to become involved
with experimenting with his own life.
Happy Thursday everyone! I am certainly glad it’s Thursday, and this is only my first day of work for the week! Heh heh. I had a very good first day back, though, so I already feel like I’m back in the swing of things. When I picked up the little boy I nanny for, he smiled as soon as I waved at him and it pretty much melted my heart. I was so excited to see him! This was after the mom told me that the little girl had a countdown going until my return. How sweet is that?! Yep, pretty much made coming back to work today a million times easier.
Now, to the title of my post…this was on a fortune cookie my mom got after dropping me off at the airport yesterday. Not only do I think it is just wise advice, but we had a little unexpected event right before the airport that made this fortune even more appropriate.
We were barely outside of Los Alamos when we got rear ended going pretty fast on the highway. It was the typical rear-ending (haha), where a long line of cars in front of us stopped, and even though we managed to stop in time, the car behind us came crashing into us. We all 3 (my parents and I) were thrown forward. It was quite the jolt. The car that hit us was smoking pretty badly from his air bag going off, and we both immediately pulled over. The other driver was injured, but not too badly. Luckily for my family, all 3 of us, and our car, were fine. However, we still all had to go in the ambulance to get checked for vitals and deal with all the logistical things of an “injury accident”. I was convinced I would not make my flight, which was the last flight of the day to NYC, leaving at 12:55. I got on the plane at 12:51. Perfect timing.
Other than that, it was a pretty standard day of traveling. although I was over 2 hours late from Chicago to NYC, so didn’t get back until quite late.
Looking back, we are all just very thankful no one was seriously hurt. Also, although much less important, we are thankful that I made my flight and that the car didn’t get ruined. The important thing, though, is none of us really reacted with anger over the situation. We all just kind of handled it, made back up plans for if I missed the flight, and took the whole picture (dealing with the logistics) and broke it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This is a lot how life should be.
I have always been one of those obsessive planners, always needing to know exactly what I am doing from hour to hour, day to day, and even years and years down the road. But, in reality, you just can’t plan for life. And honestly, I don’t think I really would want to plan for life. That takes out the element of surprise which can be so much fun.
I have had a really tough year since graduation college because I try to plan my life too much. I always planned on going right into graduate school or some sort of professional school from college. I always just told myself that’s what I would do because that’s what “good students” do, I liked school, and I wanted to put off entering “the real world”. Well, when time came around to apply to grad schools, my heart wasn’t into it like it should have been for such an enormous financial and time investment. Not wanting to go to grad school right after college was unexpected event number 1. But, since that is what I had always planned for, and I had gotten in, I didn’t even look at any other options. Maybe I was too afraid to look for other options, those outside of the comfort zone that for me is school. Maybe I was too proud to not go to graduate school. Probably it was a little bit of both.
So I went to graduate school Fall 2010, in a PhD program no less (a lot of time and money), even though I knew from the beginning that my heart was just not into it. While I did well academically, and genuinely enjoyed what I was doing, the entire semester I felt like I was in the wrong place, like I was undertaking this huge investment not for me, but for someone else. It preoccupied my thoughts all the time and I felt very out of place the entire semester. I also found myself continuously planning for what school or career I would change into after finishing this current PhD I was working on. When, after much debate and tears, I decided to withdraw at the beginning of Spring semester, I knew it was for the best, although it was hard for me to feel like I was “quitting” something. I did my best to look at it as a change of direction, and a break to figure out what I am really passionate about, and I knew that some day down the road, I would feel very happy about my decision to leave this particular program.
I immediately got a job with a real estate firm that was a complete disaster. I spent almost the last of my savings on training, Craigslist ads, and new clothes, and then found out I would probably not make any money until months down the road. The amount of money would be less than 1% commission. Oh, and I would be working at least 60 hours a week. I wasn’t about to leave that job without any other job prospects, though. In this economy I was lucky to have a job at all. Unexpected event number 2.
While at work for the real estate job, I got a call from a New York number. It was a mother of two children, 8 and 10, who needed a nanny. I told her I was very sorry but already had a job. I was so bummed at the timing, if she had just called two weeks earlier, I would be in such a better position. I didn’t even acknowledge that leaving the real estate job was an option until a few days later when either my parents or Jamie suggested it. I knew I had to act fast or I might lose the nanny position, so I called the mom back and told her I was willing to leave my current job if she still wanted to hire me. As luck would have it, she was planning on calling another woman the next day with a job offer, but told me they were looking for someone young, and with a college degree, and if I could meet her the following day, and the interview and my reference checks went well, I had the job. She held out for me, and I knew I had to act fast.
The next day I woke up super stressed. I knew I had to quit the real estate job in order to make it to an interview for the nanny job on time. So, for the second time in a month, I left something that in my gut I knew wasn’t a good fit for me. I took a leap of faith. Again. For a compulsive planner, that is not an easy thing to do.
Now, I have a job working full time as a nanny. I feel like I am doing something important, and I like to think that I am making as big of an impact on this family as they are me. No, it’s not going to land me a PhD by the time I’m in my mid-twenties, but I think I am growing more as a person, and I know I am learning more about both myself and the world around me than I would be if I were just going through the motions of school, which is something I am comfortable with.
So, since graduation a year ago, I have had a number of unexpected events thrown at me. But, I feel like I have grown more in this year than I previously have in many years. Also, during this year, even though I have had more personal changes, turmoil, and more days feeling uncertain about the direction of my life than ever before, I am finally finding a way to move forward and away from my eating disorder. Honestly, I don’t think I would have if I were in school right now. I think that if I wasn’t thrown out of my comfort zone education wise, I would still be doing the same thing, thinking the same way. Because feeling emotions rather than eating them, or rather than telling myself I can’t eat, is way less comfortable than using food as a crutch, much like trying new jobs is way less comfortable than continuing on with school. But I am doing it anyway and learning a whole hell of a lot along the way. I guess you could say that after 23 years I am finally not letting unexpected events throw me.
Do what you feel in your heart is right for you-
for you’ll be criticized anyway.
You’ll be damned if you do,
and damned if you don’t.
Have a great night!